Olivia Lai is Time Out's former Hong Kong English Editor.
Ultimate Guide to Quarry Bay and Tai Koo
Quarry Bay is home to one of the city’s most Instagrammable spots, exciting indoor sports venues and trendy art galleries. Not to mention one of Hong Kong's best rooftop bars. Then there’s the amazing range of restaurants worth checking out in this up-and-coming neighourhood. Whether you want to get out and get active or eat, drink and be merry, this Eastern district has everything you need. RECOMMENDED: Equally underloved but awesome, Tsuen Wan is on the rise. Here's where you should go the next time you head out to the best-kept secret in the New Territories.
The best sustainable and eco-friendly shops in Hong Kong
There’s no reason why we can’t look good and feel good without harming the environment at the same time. For those looking to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle in Hong Kong, one way to reduce waste is to support and shop at these eco-friendly stores. Whether they source textiles and ingredients sustainably or actively pick up and recycle used containers, pop along to make a change (however small it may be).RECOMMENDED: Want to eat out sustainably? Dine at these restaurants that engage in sustainable practices.
11 best spots in Hong Kong for making out
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air everywhere you look. Sometimes, it can be hard to contain your amorous tendencies for your better half (c’mon, we’ve all been there). But a romantic night at a fancy hotel can be pricey and love hotels are unsavoury to some. So where does one find some privacy in our incredibly packed and busy city? From hidden bars like 001 and Music Room at Potato Head to popular tourist attractions like Ngong Ping 360, we present the best quiet nook and crannies for a snogfest. Did we try them ourselves? No comment...
Things we hate about Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in Hong Kong, it’s even more popular than Christmas. It’s a great time to get together with the family while gobbling down all the tasty (but seriously fatty) food. And we even get to take some time off and enjoy a long weekend. But let’s be honest, the holiday comes with many bummers like interrogative relatives and ridiculous crowds everywhere. Here are just some of the things we’re not so keen on regarding CNY. RECOMMENDED: Make this holiday a little bit more bearable with some tasty festive treats, or take some snaps at these beautiful festive spots in town.
Stanley: Ultimate Guide
Tourists flock to Stanley on a daily basis to enjoy the quaint seaside neighbourhood’s famous shopping market and sandy beaches. But the coastal town is more than just a tourist trap. There are great al fresco restaurants, leisurely hikes and even a quality dai pai dong offering one of the best varieties of french toast in Hong Kong. Read on to discover the best of Stanley and to remind yourself why it’s worth going south.
Hong Kong’s best bookstores
Despite the closure of English-language bookstore chains Dymocks and Page One over the last few years, there are still some great bookstores left in Hong Kong. You have your classic all-purpose bookshops that sell everything from bestsellers to stationary and indie stores that double up as a café or an art gallery – Hong Kong has got ’em all. Whether you’re looking for a classic novel to expand your literary horizons or something trashy to ease into by the pool on your next vacation, head over to these bookstores to get stocked up. RECOMMENDED: For book ideas, why not have a go at these books that are set in Hong Kong if you’re in need of some inspiration.
10 children’s shows we’re totally nostalgic for
With some of the biggest anime shows of the last 30 years being rebooted – Sailor Moon Crystal is already here and Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is on the way – it only seems natural to head down memory lane and revisit some of our favourite after-school ’toons that have been broadcast in Hong Kong. Don’t feel like hitting the outdoors for a hike and a stroll in the park, put your feet up, chill at home and relive your childhood by rewatching these awesome programmes.
The best restaurants in West Kowloon Railway Station
The long-awaited Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is finally operating after launching on September 23. The line’s Hong Kong terminus at the new West Kowloon Railway Station comes with a flurry of eateries where Hongkongers can refuel and relax before starting their journey. Travellers can tuck into Michelin star-quality dim sum, sip on bubble tea and tuck into a diverse range of international cuisines including Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian. There’s even a local cha chaan teng inside the massive 18,000 sq ft food court. Get a taste of the best with our guide.
The best cafés and coffeeshops in Central and Sai Wan
Whether you’re in need of an escape from your high-powered job or simply looking for a place to chill, a humble café provides a perfect sanctuary for those in need of a caffeine boost. Neighbourhoods like Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun have been welcoming great coffeeshops into their midst, from artisanal and minimalist to pour-over coffee offerings, start here to discover the best cafés in Central and Sai Wan.
Best places to get char siu rice in Hong Kong
There’s a saying in Hong Kong: “It would have been better to have given birth to char siu than to you.” The fact that parents say this to their children frequently here goes to show just how much they love this traditional Hong Kong-style barbecue pork dish. Much like dim sum and gai daan zai, char siu rice is a quintessential Hong Kong meal and a local comfort food favourite. While you can find it almost everywhere across town, quality varies tremendously. You can get it for as cheap as around $20 with a soup and a drink, or you can splash out over $300 to get it just on its own. Whatever you wish to spend, here's our rundown of some of our favourite spots in the city to enjoy this meaty dish. RECOMMENDED: Looking for something to beat the summer heat? Check out our list of the best-chilled dishes to try this summer.
Hong Kong’s best rainbow desserts
Summer in Hong Kong is often filled with gloomy, rainy days. But you can literally go chasing rainbows at the city’s many amazing restaurants and brighten up your mood even on the worst of days. If you’re looking to add a splash of colour to your Instagram feed or celebrate Pride Month with a rainbow cake or three, be it Ms B’s Cakery’s extravagant offerings or Korean-favourite Le Bread Lab’s cutesy baked goods, these are the best places to dig into rainbow desserts in Hong Kong. RECOMMENDED: Prefer to be surrounded by colour while you eat? Make a visit to one of these pink restaurants in Hong Kong instead.
13 more things that fill Hongkongers with rage
We Hongkongers love a good rant. While we take pride in our fast-paced and efficient cit, there are those occassional annoyances that we just can't let go of. So, it comes as no surprise that it's pretty easy to find 11 things that fill us with rage. But there are many more issues that get us ticked off in our everyday lives. So without further ado, here are 13 more things that piss Hongkongers off.
Listings and reviews (13)
Van Gogh Alive – The Experience
La que supuestamente es la "la exposición multimedia más visitada del mundo" llega a la Ciudad de México, un despliegue festivo en el que te sumergirás por Arles, Saint Rémy y Auvers-sur-Oise, donde Van Gogh creó la mayor parte de sus obras. Van Gogh Alive – The Experience da vida tanto a las pinturas y obras de arte icónicas como a las menos conocidas, desde una estructura de 1,500 metros cuadrados instalada en el Monumento a la Madre. No se trata de una exposición de arte ordinaria: Van Gogh Alive te invita a entrar a una gran galería-caja negra con pantallas que se extienden de pared a pared e incluso que cubren columnas y suelo, en las que se recrean más de 3 mil imágenes de van Gogh a gran escala. Desde La noche estrellada y Los girasoles hasta sus piezas de inspiración japonesa. Pero las proyecciones no son solo imágenes estáticas: acompañados de una selección de música clásica cuidadosamente seleccionada, algunos detalles fueron alterados para que se muevan. Piensa en la película Loving Vincent (2017). La exposición es una experiencia inmersiva cautivadora en la que fácilmente puedes perderte entre colores y música e incluso dar vueltas por el mismo lugar durante 30 minutos. Van Gogh Alive además tiene sorpresas entre sus atractivos, pues incluye olores que evoquen a la época, los lugares y los objetos plasmados en los cuadros que pintó el artista, así como proyecciones en agua. También verás una recreación del dormitorio de Arles para que te tomes fotografías. Como e
Love gelato, pizzas and cheese? Head down to Cyberport for an authentic Italian Market experience and sample an array of excellent food and wine. There are more than 30 stalls to browse around, shop for some quality olive oil, handcrafted jewellery and handmade products while munching on quintessentially Italian fare.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Converting a beloved, award-winning novel that’s sold more than two million copies into a stage production is a daunting task. But adapting The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a challenge playwright Simon Stephens and the UK’s National Theatre took on with relish. Not to mention tremendous success. At the time of its release in 2012 the play won a record-equalling (until it was surpassed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) seven Olivier Awards. Pushing the boundaries of modern theatre, The Curious Incident sees actors work intimately with the set and real-time lighting cues, and engage in precise choreography. It all comes together superbly to help demonstrate the inner workings of the mind of a teenager who has trouble connecting with the world.Now, six years on from its London debut, the all-British National Theatre has embarked on its first-ever international tour, bringing the production to Asia and Australia. Like the book, The Curious Incident follows the investigation, by a 15-year-old boy, Christopher Boone, into the murder of a dog speared by a garden fork. Boone, however, is no ordinary teenager. “Chris is an unusual boy with an exceptional brain who loves maths and science,” explains resident director Kim Pearce. “But he doesn’t like being touched and can’t tell lies. In many ways, he’s ill-equipped to deal with the normal world.” Through Boone’s unconventional investigation, the audience discovers that nearly all the adults are telling lies and
9 3/4 Cafe
It’s 20 years now since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, a slim novel that kick-started a franchise and launched a generation of Potterheads. Thus, it’s appropriate that Hong Kong, a city that loves its themed cafés, sees the opening of 9 ¾ Cafe. Our only surprise is that’s even taken this long.We ‘Slytherin’ to the fourth floor unit tucked away behind a wet market in Mong Kok and are immediately greeted by a trolley half-submerged in the wall beside the entrance and a glowing sign reminiscent of the Harry Potter lightning bolt typeface. Definitely in the right place then. The self-proclaimed magic-themed café – magic-themed to, you know, avoid the obvious copyright infringements – looks exactly like what you’d expect of an upstairs café in Mong Kok: small and packed. So far so mundane. But with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing on-loop in the background and electric candles dangling from the ceiling, not to mention a second half-submerged trolley, the café has enough magical ingredients to satisfy any Harry Potter fans.We sit down on some snazzy Hogwarts house printed chairs and order a Butterbeer ($48), a must for any Harry Potter-tribute eatery. The staff promptly conjures one up in a glass pint but with tremendously disappointing results – it’s basically a homemade cream soda mix served with liberal amounts of bland whipped cream. But hey, at least it looks good on Instagram and Facebook.The menu features all the usual Western options expecte
Fruit Jamming Market
Pop along to PMQ for a fruit-astic festvial and market! You’ll be welcome in by a giant fruity wonderland featuring a dozen roly-poly fruit figures where both kids and grown-ups can release all their anger and frustration on these hilarious toys. But the main event is surely the market with more than 20 fruit-related booths and workshops. You can try your hand at fruit bowl painting, clay art and make your own starfruit jam from scratch. Enjoy house-made fruit cocktails and fruit punch coupled with handcrafted beer and shop for funky accessories like hand-woven fruit bags and lipsticks made of organic fruit peels.
Sai Kung Sunday Market
Sai Kung Sunday Market returns with all the freshest produce, original homewares and one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewellery, as well as fun eco-friendly clothing and accessories. Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle, browse through a great range of overseas wine and chow down on a selection of culinary treats that’ll appeal to the whole family.
Pang Yongjie: Intimate Embraces
Celebrating full-figured female physiques and femininity, Chinese artist Pang Yongjie – best known for his post contemporary abstract art – presents a series of portraits depicting the gentleness of women through the simplicity of pastel colours and red lips. (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm).
Paul Davies: Hollywood Stills
Demonstrating mixing painting, stencilling and photography techniques, artist Paul Davies exhibits artworks that feature quintessential Hollywood landscapes. The bold colours mimic the style of negative photographs, leaving viewers to question what is original and what is altered. (Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm).
Sarah Choo Jing: Flights of the Mind
Finding inspiration in Hong Kong’s public transport systems, Singaporean artist Sarah Choo Jing captures the ebb and flow of people’s movement through a composite of photography and video, looking at the growing isolation in urban cities.
A Blazing Night - A Glow in the Dark Party and Japanese wine tasting
Join this glow-in-the-dark networking party and enjoy free-flow sake throughout the night. Challenge yourself to a blind taste test or a game of beer pong. Come dressed in your best summer outfit and bring glowsticks. There's also cupcakes all ’round.
Descendants of the Earth: Horseshoe Crab
Learn about the conservation of horseshoe crabs – a species that predates dinosaurs – through interactive games, educational talks and a series of DIY workshops.
Wine Music Jam
Lovers of wine and music have a chance to combine and enjoy both passions in a single event. Musicians can try expanding their palette while oenophiles can take a stab at showing off their music skills. Move over wine and dine, it’s time to wine and, uh, jam.
The different types of texters we encounter every day
It comes as no surprise that texting is the main form of communication in today's world. Whether it's for the ease of organising a group dinner, complaining to a friend how bored you are at work or simply catching up on some juicy gossip with your bestie – everyone texts. Of course, we all have different habits when it comes to texting, but just how many of these different texters are you in contact with every day?
Shake Shack joins forces with The Chairman to launch limited edition burger and shake
In celebration of Shake Shack turning one in Hong Kong, the massively popular American burger chain has teamed up with The Chairman, one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants, to bring Hongkongers a limited edition creation: The Chairman Shack. Available for one day only on Saturday, July 13 at Shake Shack’s IFC branch, The Chairman Shack ($80) consists of an Angus beef burger topped with 12-hour slow cooked caramelised onion, griddled ox tongue, pickled radish, Szechuan pepper, Chinese bean sauce and butter lettuce. Wash it down with an equally limited-edition milkshake offering, The Chairman Shake ($48), which features osmanthus and goji berry. Shake Shack is only serving up 800 of these babies on the day so make sure to be there bright and early when doors open at 11am. Bonus: the first 100 customers will be gifted with a special Shake Shack x The Chairman ornament, which you can’t get your hands on anywhere else.
Take on the Plastic Free July challenge this coming month
Plastic Free July, a campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation, kicks off next week, challenging people to do away single-use plastics for an entire month. According to the foundation, 2,000 tonnes of plastic, which amounts to 20 percent of Hong Kong’s overall waste, is sent to landfills every day. Plastic cutlery and takeaway containers make up the bulk of that total. Another 17 million pieces of plastic waste are washed into the ocean via the Shing Mun River every year. Even worse? Hongkongers throw away 5.2 million plastic bottles every single day. Last year’s challenge saw 120 million people taking part across the world. Collectively, they helped prevent nearly 500 million kg of plastic waste from going to landfills. The Plastic Free Foundation hopes to do even better this year. If you’re interested in joining the fight against single-use plastics, here’s how you can start: refuse plastic straws for beverages, carry a reusable cup that your coffee, water or tea can be poured into, opt to dine in or eat out at one of the city’s sustainable restaurants, bring your own reusable containers instead of relying on takeaway containers, take a tote bag with you when you go shopping, buy your grains and herbs in bulk from one of Hong Kong’s zero waste stores and store those goods in your own containers. For more information, you can visit plasticfreejuly.org. Happy saving!
McDonald’s limited-edition D24 durian McFlurry is back!
Drop everything. Starting from Wednesday, June 22, the durian McFlurry is back in stock in Hong Kong! The limited edition product originally hit Hong Kong last July, and it sold out in just two days. This return sees real D24 durian purée (straight from Malaysia, no less) swirled into vanilla ice cream – the kind of fruity, creamy sugar-high fever dream. A standard-sized durian McFlurry costs only $25, but since it’s not every day you get to enjoy this durian goodness, take the opportunity to super-size it and get an extra scoop and even more durian purée for $40. Still not enough? You can go even bigger with the “extra” size ($55) that comes with two additional ice cream scoops and three times the purée. Get in line early – McDonald’s starts selling them from 11am – or else prepare for either agonising queuing or outright disappointment. You’ve been warned.
NOC Coffee Co is giving away 50 cups of coffee this Friday
There’s no stopping NOC Coffee as it continues to expand its coffee empire with the opening of its seventh branch in Tin Hau this Friday, June 7. In celebration, the local coffee chain will be handing out free beverages and a complimentary pin from NOC’s own line of merchandise to the first 50 customers who walk through its doors. Tucked away on Mercury Street in Tin Hau, the new 1,700 sq ft shop features an L-shaped coffee bar serving up the brand’s house-roasted coffee as well as a seasonal selection of single origins. Food-wise, there’ll be plenty of healthy brunch items and comfort food on offer, including scrambled crab toast and loaded potato waffles. Doors will open at 11am this Friday. So if you want that freebie, you better be in Tin Hau bright and early.
Asia’s largest MoMA Design Store to open in Hong Kong this August
There’s a lot to look forward to when K11 Musea, a massive 3 million sq ft museum-shopping complex located at Victoria Dockside in Tsim Sha Tsui, opens this August. First, UA Cinemas announced it will be launching a 12-theatre multiplex cinema (which houses 1,711 seats) at the new mall. And just this week news came that MoMA Design Store will be making its way into K11 Musea as well. An extension of New York’s renowned Museum of Modern Art, the Design Store already has outposts in Tokyo and Kyoto. But the new Hong Kong outlet will boast the title of Asia’s largest branch, and will stock a dizzying selection of design products and gifts inspired by MoMA’s collection, utilising work by some of the most famous artists in the world including Andy Warhol, Picasso and Monet. Past artist collaborations have seen skateboards featuring Yayoi Kusama’s iconic polka dots and exclusive figurines by Kaws. The venue is also known for championing lesser-known but no less innovative designers. Image: store.moma.org There will be a multitude of exclusive products and limited edition items developed specifically for the Hong Kong store, so have your wallets (and certainly cameras) ready when the shop opens in August.
Get your hands on these Hong Kong exclusive roast goose and wonton noodle-flavoured crisps
Crisps are very much part of a Hongkonger’s diet. At a party, late-night binging on Netflix, stress eating at the office – a pack will somehow always make its way into someone’s hands. The crisps from Japanese brand Calbee top the list for many in Hong Kong. So in celebration of its 25th anniversary (in HK), Calbee has introduced two new flavours exclusive to Hong Kong: Sham Tseng roast goose and local staple prawn wonton. Both products are made right here in Hong Kong, so you can trust the Calbee folks here to get the flavourings just right. You can get your fill of the thick, crinkle-cut crisps at most supermarkets and convenience stores around town at the end of the month. These babies will only set you back $10.2. Say goodbye to your summer body.
Baileys is doing a three-day pop-up café at Mira Place this weekend
For those looking for a pick-me-up this weekend, look no further than the All About Coffee Mart at Mira Place, which features various popular coffee brands including a Baileys pop-up café. Between May 24-26, the best-selling cream liqueur brand is partnering up with local boutique coffee shop Favilla Café to roll out a series of summer coffee cocktails. From the menu, caffeine fiends can try and sample the Baileys Mocha (a mixture of Favilla’s speciality coffee with fuji blossom and Baileys Chocolat Luxe), a latté infused with Baileys Original Irish cream and frappuccinos, as well as cold brew coffee, all with a shot of Baileys. Prefer to ditch the coffee and go all in with the Baileys? Full-sized Baileys bottles are available to purchase on site, and if you buy two or more, you’ll be treated with a complementary liqueur gift set and a limited edition wine glass. Have a go at the arcade claw machine while you’re at the pop-up store and take home Baileys-themed gifts. If you find yourself hooked on these coffee cocktails, fret not for the menu will be available at Favilla Café once the event ends.
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah brings his Loud and Clear tour to Hong Kong
The host of the hugely popular The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, has announced he’s bringing his acclaimed stand-up world tour Loud and Clear to Hong Kong Convention Centre on August 21. Since taking over hosting duties for satirical news programme from Jon Stewart – who was a well-regarded figure for his insightful and humorous political commentary – in 2015, the South African comedian has been making the show his own by introducing a broader international perspective and injecting plenty of Millennial humour. Though clearly not satisfied with the one job, Noah remains highly active in the stand-up circuit and even made time to publish an autobiography in 2016, titled Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. The new world tour, which kicked off early this year, sees Noah perform his biting observational comedy to Hong Kong and Singapore audiences for the first time. Tickets start from $588 and will go on sale this Friday, May 24 at 10am via hkticketing.com. Get them early to avoid disappointment!
Enjoy free entry to Hong Kong museums on May 18 & 19
Take in some culture with a trip or three to a museum this weekend as a number of them will be opened to the public for free in celebration of International Museum Day. On May 18-19, Hongkongers can enjoy free entry to the city’s most popular museums including the Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Space Museum, as well as other museums operated outside of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department like Hong Kong Maritime Museum, University Museum and Art Gallery and Asia Society. There’s going to be a boatload of corresponding special activities and talks throughout the weekend. For example, Hong Kong Maritime Museum will be offering giveaways at the gift shops and live music at the adjacent Café 8. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the incredibly rich history and cultural legacies of our SAR and expand your horizon on topics ranging from astronomy to the development of Hong Kong railways.
McDonald’s hops on the bandwagon with its own series of cheese teas
Seriously, there’s no stopping the Taiwanese tea train in Hong Kong. Even with the sheer amount of bubble tea shops in the city (we’ve rounded up the best 13 in Hong Kong), McDonald’s knows Hongkongers are craving for more. That’s why, starting from today, you can get your hands on a variety of cheese tea beverages – one of the biggest trends to come out of Taiwanese tea stores – at any McCafé. For those who don’t know, cheese tea is where you have a combination of milk, cream cheese and salt beaten into a thick froth, layered on top of a fruity or tea drink. The beverages under McCafé’s new tea series rely on cheese sourced from France, Ireland and New Zealand and come in flavours like mango, berry, matcha and four seasons tea. You can also enjoy your cheesy froth on top of iced black coffee or salted caramel latte. McCafé is also celebrating its 20th birthday this month. To celebrate, it's offering a slice of rainbow sponge cake for an extra $18 with every purchase of cheese tea. So if you want to see what all the fuss is about with cheese tea, you can start here.
Flamingo Bloom is giving away free fruit tea and Tai Cheong egg tarts this weekend
Popular chic and modern tea salon Flamingo Bloom is launching a new branch in Stanley Plaza this week. To celebrate its newest member, the tea shop is treating Hongkongers to free drinks and egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery this weekend. To enjoy the freebies, pop along to the new store in Stanley on May 18 and 19 between 1pm-6pm, take a snap of Flamingo Bloom’s promotional car or bicycle there and upload it on social media with the hashtag #flamingobloom. Once that’s done, you can savour one of Flamingo Bloom’s designated teas or a bite of Tai Cheong Bakery’s famous egg tarts (sadly, it’s either one or the other). There’s a ton of seasonal fruit beverages worth trying while you’re there including the What-a-melon x Jasmine Tips Green Slush ($49) – served in a hollowed-out watermelon, Smashed Pineapple x Jasmine Tips Green Slush ($49), and the Smashed Mangoes x Coconut Milk ($39). And if you’re a bit peckish, have a go at the new selection of grilled toasties: avocado ($49), corn beef and cheese ($46), and tuna ($46). From today onwards, for any drink you buy from Flamingo Bloom, you can also take home a free pair of flamingo-themed slippers for an extra $29.